These half-pound cookies are causing a stir on TikTok and they’re made here in London
What started as a pandemic hobby has grown into a successful, full-fledged business delivering gooey, decadent half-pound cookies to Canadians coast-to-coast.
Salena Halbouni, 24, did not expect her life to take this direction. She had just finished her master’s degree in international relations when the pandemic hit and, like many, she took up baking just for fun.
“It wasn’t meant to be a business plan,” said Halbouni, owner and manager of The Cookie Place.
“I knew my husband loved cookies, and I just wanted to make him a super crazy, decadent cookie. I kept experimenting and changing recipes, until I found one that I really liked. …and he went crazy about it,” she added. mentioned. “We said, ‘If it’s a good cookie, we’re sure family and friends will love it. “”
Fast forward 18 months later, The Cookie Place operates an e-commerce and physical store in London, Ontario, employing over a dozen people and selling up to a thousand cookies a day across the country.
The company specializes in unique, handcrafted, half-pound cookies that are all individually stuffed with a variety of toppings from homemade Dunkaroos frosting to your favorite chocolate spread, all to ensure an explosion of flavors in every bite.
“These are not your average cookies,” Halbouni said.
“You can’t even compare it to what you think of a cookie. They literally weigh half a pound and are a twist on the traditional dish. It’s more of a mushy, doughy cookie, with a unique topping and decorated on the top. ”
But in addition to rich chocolate and creative flavor pairings, it’s actually social media that has become the key ingredient to their success.
A TikTok sensation
Halbouni said her sister and now business partner, Karima, 23, asked her if she could make a TikTok video to showcase the decadent cookies and pitched her the idea that the social media platform could elevate her business. .
Gradually, with cool videos and good customer service, Halbouni said, the likes, comments and follower count started to increase. Today, their account has attracted over 94,000 followers, and that’s what has sparked interest in their cookies from people as far afield as British Columbia and Nunavut.
“TikTok food is crazy,” Halbouni said, admitting that when her sister came up with the idea, she didn’t even have an account on the platform.
“People love to see videos of you taking a bite out of the cookie or showing you what’s in it…and it’s great when people come into our window and are super excited and say: ‘I found you on TikTok.’ It is truly a blessing.
“Word of mouth isn’t really enough at this point. Everyone uses social media and being able to navigate it and use it to our advantage has been very helpful and a blessing.”
Although The Cookie Place has come a long way since baking a few dozen cookies in Halbouni’s kitchen, she said starting a business in a field she didn’t know much about wasn’t something she did without hesitation or fear.
“We weren’t sure how it would work in the London market, especially during the pandemic which has seen a lot of businesses closing. I was very nervous and it was daunting,” she said.
“But, I would say to anyone looking to start their own business, there is risk in almost anything entrepreneurial, but there comes a time when you have to take that leap of faith and believe in your product and do your best.”